R.I.P. Mike Nichols

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Mentor...A word usually associated with an individual who has a profound impact in one's life.  A person who is generous enough to guide one on their way to whatever path or road they are choosing to take.  A person whose advice you heed and who you look up to and admire.

Everyone has a mentor in one shape or another.  I have had several mentors in my lifetime through my various stages of creativity.  Whoopi Goldberg had one...Mike Nichols.

Had it not been for Mike Nichols, it s very possible that we may have never know the comic genius of Whoopi Goldberg.  witnessed film debut of Calista Flockhart in The Birdcage, witnessed the explosive relationship of Burton and Taylor played out onscreen in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf or listened to Dustin Hoffman utter those famous words in The Graduate, "Mrs. Robinson...are you trying to seduce me?"

Mike Nichols, one of only 12 people (including Whoopi Goldberg) to have been honored with an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Award (affectionately known as EGOT), was a celebrated director for over 60 years.

Arriving in 1931 America at 7 years old speaking little English, German born Nichols came to the US when his family escaped Nazi Germany.   His legacy as a director is left in such Broadway and the silver screen hits – from "Barefoot in the Park" and "The Odd Couple" to "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and "The Graduate." He earned the best director Oscar for "The Graduate."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-3lKbMBab18

He started his show business career with comedian Elaine May.  Their three comedy albums reached the Billboard Top 40 between 1959 and 1962 and garnered them a Grammy.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x0vSLIO7m20

He earned his eighth Tony two years ago for the revival of "Death of a Salesman and recently been working with HBO to adapt "Master Class ( “Wit” and “Angels in America” were also Emmy winning successes for Nichols and HBO)," Terrence McNally's Tony Award-winning play about opera legend Maria Callas. The project would have reunited him with frequent collaborator Meryl Streep.

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“An inspiration and joy to know, a director who cried when he laughed, a friend without whom, well, we can’t imagine our world, an indelible irreplaceable man,” said Meryl Streep, who worked with Nichols on “Silkwood,” “Heartburn” and the HBO adaptation of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.”

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Nichols was married to ABC newswoman Diane Sawyer and I can only imagine how this massive loss must be impacting her today...or his kids and many grandchildren.

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I , for one, will miss the twist on reality in his films that made us wince, look twice and laugh at ourselves just a little bit harder under the most dire of circumstances.  Whoopi Goldberg said it best...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ozj9pjPh-h8

RIP...Hope you and Anne Bancroft are having the reunion of a lifetime...

 

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!

...And The Awards Race is On

With the 2014 Golden Globes right around the corner this Sunday, January 12th and with nomination announcements from the PGA (Producers Guild Association), WGA (Writer's Guild Association), SAG (Screen Actors Guild Awards), TMC (The Movie Critics  Choice Awards) and BAFTA's (British Academy of Film and Television Arts), I thought this would be a good time to look at who has the best chance of snagging Oscar noms on January 16th. Leading the pack of nominations is the Steve McQueen directed true life story of Solomon Northrup - "12 Years A Slave"  and  Director David O' Russell's " American Hustle" .   Right behind them are "Captain Phillips", "Gravity", "Philomena", "Saving Mr. Banks", "Wolf of  Wall Street", "Blue Jasmine", "Rush", "Inside Llewyn Davis", "Nebraska", "The Butler", "August:  Osage County", "Dallas Buyers Club" and "Her".  Almost all of these films began their awards journey at Sundance this same time last year.

Actors with multiple nominations include...Chiwetel Ejiofor, Lupita N'yongo, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Michael Fassbender, Judi Dench, Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Emma Thompson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Daniel Bruhl, Bruce Dern, June Squibb, Oprah Winfrey, Matthew McConaughy and Jared Leto.

In the world of animation, "Despicable Me 2", "Frozen" and "Monsters University" are cleaning up noms along with the documentaries "20 Feet From Stardom", "Blackfish" and "The Armstong Lie".

So without going into the insanely long list of how many each project has received, I will go straight to my predictions for this 2014 season...

Best Director - Since Scorsese and Allen have had numerous awards bestowed upon them throughout the years, I think it is safe to say that this year it will be a very intense horse race between Steve McQueen and David O'Russell.

Best Picture/Film - Y'all...2013 was by far the best year for cinema that I have witnessed in quite some time.  However, with some of these films, the acting was better than the actual film.  For that reason, I feel like "12 Years A Slave" should win, but since "Gravity" was the highest grossing dramatic film of 2013 and just won The People's Choice Award for Favorite Dramatic Movie it has a pretty good shot at taking home the prize.

Best Actor - Due to the stellar performances of Chiwetel Ejiofor, Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, Matthew McConaughy, Tom Hanks, Forest Whittaker, Leonardo DiCaprio and Joaquin Phoenix it is soooo incredibly hard to choose just one.  However, my guess is that if sentimentality goes with the legends -- Forest, Tom, Bruce and Robert will be duking it out.  If not, then I say it's real tight race between Ejiofor and McConaughy.

Best Actress - Seriously, they should just call this category "The Meryl" 'cause she just chews up the scenery  in every role she inhabits on-screen.  Having said that, although Meryl "should' and "deserves to take it yet again...I would suffice to say that it may very well be a fight to the finish between Cate Blanchett, Judi Dench, Emma Thompson, Oprah Winfrey and Sandra Bullock.

Best Supporting Actor - There are a multitude of great performances in this category notably by Barkhad Abdi and Jared Leto.  It's safe to say that Jared Leto totally has this category on lockdown.  His performance in "Dallas Buyers Club" is the role of a lifetime.

Best Supporting Actress - In my opinion, this is probably the toughest category of them all with stellar performances by June Squibb, Lupita N'yongo, Julia Roberts, Sally Hawkins and Jennifer Lawrence.  However, it would be a surprise if Lupita N'yongo didn't sweep this.

Much to my disappointment, neither "Fruitvale Station", director Ryan Coogler or its stars Michael B. Jordan and Octavia Spencer were recognized for their stellar work.  It's a small film that I feel got lost in the shuffle of many good films released in 2013.

Although Dane DeHaan is a BAFTA Rising Star nominee (as is Lupita N'yongo) for his role in the indie "Kill Your Darlings", he has been overlooked right along with Margo Maritndale and Julianne Nicholson in "August:  Osage County".  I was also a little salty that Allison Janney and Greg Kinnear's work in the highly touted "The Way, Way Back" wasn't recognized, but again this was a really competitive year for film.

So here are all the dates and know that I will be tweeting live for each one under my twitter handle @CaRenata.

Here we go...

January 12    THE GOLDEN GLOBES

January 16th  ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS ANNOUNCEMENT and 1st Day of SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL

January 19th  PRODUCERS GUILD AWARDS

January 25th  DIRECTORS GUILD AWARDS

February 1st  WRITERS GUILD AWARDS

February 12th BAFTA AWARDS

March 2nd      OSCARS!!!!

2013 Independent Film Festival Follow-up

Film Festival Follow-up The Telluride festival...done, Venice is wrapping up and Toronto begins while we are getting news about what is on the horizon with the AFI Festival slated to open on November 7th. All of these festivals usually gives us a sneak peek about what the Oscar race for 2014 is shaping up to look like.

Thus far, we have seen these films emerge as front-runners -- FRUITVALE STATION, Lee Daniels' THE BUTLER, BLUE JASMINE, THE WAY, WAY BACK and its stars Michael B. Jordan, Octavia Spencer, Forest Whittaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Cate Blanchett & Allison Janney are creating a lot of buzz.

Going into the Toronto festival, major buzz is surrounding Steve McQueen's 12 YEARS OF A SLAVE, GRAVITY, AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS, PARADISE, PRISONERS & SAVING MR. BANKS already making the Best Actress category overcrowded.

Rumor has it that these actresses will be lauded for their performances: Cate Blanchett - Blue Jasmine Sandra Bullock - Gravity Judi Dench -Philomena Marion Cotillard - The Immigrant Julia Roberts - August: Osage County Meryl Streep - August: Osage County Naomi Watts - Diana Emma Thompson - Saving Mr. Banks Oprah Winfrey - Lee Daniels' The Butler

It's looking like a real horse race thus far...

On another note films opening this week include: Adore starring Naomi Watts and Robin Wright Afternoon Delight with Kathryn Han, Juno Temple and Josh Radnor Bounty Killer starring Gary Busey, Eve and Beverly D'Angelo Hell Baby with Rob Coddry Riddick with Vin Diesel Winnie Mandela starring Jennifer Hudson and Terrence Howard.

Tags: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Brad Pitt, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts

Categories: Film Reviews

Carla Renata

Hey My Fellow Movie Lovers...

A Bison, Virgo, devoted daughter, yoga and spinning enthusiasts, graduate of  the "mecca" - Howard University's School of Communications, former publicist, actress, branding influencer and "doggie mom" to an adorably smart-energetic maltese are just a few of the characteristics that make up the essence of me -- Carla Renata.

Formerly of UBNRAdio.com, where I Co-Hosted "On Air With Tony Sweet", this Fall, I will be hosting a new show for Black Hollywood Live owned by E! Correspondent Maria Menounos  and am a freelance contributor for NPR's Weekend All Things Considered.

I absolutely adore talking about all things cinema and it is my sincere hope that although not every opinion I have will or will not be embraced, know that I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to share!  Enjoy and see you on the red carpet!!!